My 3 Biggest Goals For the Rest of 2021
Looking back at the goals I wrote in January and reassessing.
Originally published on July 4, 2021.
With June ending the other day, 2021 is officially at the halfway point.
I’ve never actually been to church, but thank God.
For me, 2021 has been more challenging than 2020 was, primarily because, in 2020, I was a happy-go-lucky undergrad who, once Covid struck, moved back into the safety of his parent's home to wait out the end of the world. I was bored, but I was safe.
2020 was much harder for most people than it was for me. However, 2021 has been a little bit more challenging. As the world has reopened, I’ve had to grow up quite a bit. I’ve been trying to build an online writing business (copywriting, blogging, and more to come) while fighting in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments all over the country, and teaching private lessons and classes to make extra cash as well. I’m actually… working on stuff now, which is a big change from last year, where I was barely a real person.
With that said, the year is at a halfway point, and these are the 3 goals that I am focusing on going into the 3rd quarter of 2021:
Jiu-Jitsu is the centerpiece of everything I do in life. I’ve taken kind of an unconventional path in post-grad life in order to keep this true, and as much as I love to hate on the perils fighting and competition sometimes, it’s so integral to who I am and how I see the world. I won’t compete forever, but for the immediate future, I’m going to get everything out of Jiu-Jitsu that I can.
My goals for the rest of 2021 in Jiu-Jitsu are divided into three categories: training, teaching, and competing.
For training, my biggest goals are to improve on techniques I’ve been working on (super unique, I know) and to travel and train at least several new places and cities before the year is out. If all goes well (fingers crossed), I’ll be taking a trip to Europe at the end of the year and I’ll finally get a taste of what Jiu-Jitsu training (and possibly competition) is like outside of the US.
As a teacher, I’m very raw. Right now, all I’m trying to do is improve my communication skills as I teach. I’m just scratching the surface on how to structure a class, a lesson, and how to implement principles I’ve learned in my experience in martial arts. I’m not sure what my “endgame” is with teaching, but with whatever you do in life, teaching is an incredibly valuable skill.
The area of Jiu-Jitsu where my goals are most simple is competition. I mean, the goal seems easy, right? Win. But as I’ve said before, there’s a little bit more to fighting than just winning. As a competitor, I don’t just seek out “wins”, I seek out challenges. I want to perform at the highest levels in the top events in the Jiu-Jitsu world. Specifically, the main IBJJF majors and the 2021 ADCC trials are on my calendar for the rest of 2021.
When writing gets too hard, Jiu-Jitsu is my outlet. When Jiu-Jitsu gets too hard, writing is my outlet. I need both in order to have balance in my life.
That means that as I try to grow as an athlete and teacher, I also am striving to grow as a writer. Sure, balance doesn’t always mean a complete 50/50 split of time all the time, but it does mean that I’ll go in periods where I favor each of these parts of my life.
For the most part, “writing more” means blogging consistently, contributing to publications, and publishing several times a week.
But the truth is my Medium account is not the extent of my writing. My biggest writing goal for the second half of 2021 is to expand my writing. Specifically, I want to work on building my email list, adding more clients to my copywriting repertoire, and finally, actually publishing some fiction and poetry — both of which scare the heck out of me.
Last year, I wrote the first draft of a novel while I was in quarantine, and then I just forgot about it. I’ve edited it a bit here and there and shared the opening chapters with some friends, but it’s largely unaltered from its original state. I’d like to at least be close to finished with it before the end of 2021, because who knows how much longer I have before this story leaves me.
3. Personal Growth/Mental Health
I write a lot about personal growth and mental health, and it’s not because I’m an expert. It’s actually quite the opposite.
I write a lot about personal growth and mental health because I’m trying to figure out how my brain works, how I can make it work better, and how I can make myself happier.
To me (again, not an expert), personal growth comes down to the three pillars of health: physical health, mental health, and spiritual health.
Physically, I’m pretty healthy (with the exception of several nagging martial arts injuries that won’t be “repaired” without surgery). I work out, eat well, and stay away from drugs and alcohol for the most part. My 2 biggest vices are coffee and sugar. I love cookies just about as much as I love fighting people, and I love coffee because it fuels me to do both of those things.
My mental health is a bit of a different story. This year has been a real test of it, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made but there’s still much more to go. Until you work on improving your mental habits, you’re going to keep making the same mistakes in your life, and I’ve learned that the hard way this year. My biggest mental health goal is to rip the band-aid off of my real fears and face them with courage.
Competing in martial arts or getting told that my work is trash isn’t scary to me. I am resilient to professional failures. I’m far less resilient to personal failures and I’m scared of social confrontation. I want to improve that aspect of myself with all of my soul — which leads me into the final pillar of health.
Spiritual health has always been a bit intimidating to me. I never went to church or had any real exposure to organized religion growing up, so I was very quick to proclaim myself an atheist with a complete disdain for spirituality at the age of 11.
“You think there’s a man? In the sky? Who controls everything? Okay.” — Chris, age 11
Please read the quote above with a sarcastic tone.
However, I’m starting to make a distinction between religion and spirituality, and it’s making spiritual health more appealing to me.
I still don’t know what I believe and I don’t know the truth about the nature of reality, but I’m trying my best to be more open-minded. I don’t really care if there’s a God or if we’re all specks of dust on the cosmic scope of existence, it still seems to me like there’s something magical about the human experience. I hope that I am able to get myself to a strong and stable enough place mentally to explore my own consciousness more in the rest of 2021.
What’s the point of achieving goals? Your guess is as good as mine, but to me, overcoming difficulty helps me grow.
If there’s anything that I know that I’m pretty good at, it’s setting goals and achieving them. Maybe it’s my addictive personality that keeps me in check and obsessed with striving to be better, but hard work has never been something I’ve been afraid to seek out.
For me, it’s all the other stuff in life that’s more difficult. I know how to work hard, but I don’t really know how to do anything else. This is me calling myself out: achieving goals doesn’t make you happier, especially if the goals aren’t aligned with your happiness.
My goals for the rest of 2021 aren’t to hustle harder and work more. My goals are to be happier, more content, and freer.
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What I’m Reading This Week
This one’s a doozy. I’m currently knee-deep in In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park. The book is a biographical account of Park’s journey from growing up in North Korea, her defection in 2007, and finally finding her way to the United States in 2014. If you’ve ever been curious about what it’s really like inside the communist regime of North Korea, you have to check this one out.
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Wishing you the best,